The Alfond Collection of Modern Art
Cornell Fine Arts Museum Exhibition Catalog

The work of New York-based artist Rinaldo Frattolillo cleverly plays with words and concepts based on both popular culture and the art world.  His diverse artistic practice comes out of the legacy of 1960s Pop art through his choice of common, everyday objects and motifs as the source of his humorous paintings, prints, and sculptures.  He often hones in on common conceits around the themes of love and lust.  The artist works in different media - including bronze, Belgian linen, corrugated steel, photography, acrylic, wood, plastic,Barbed Wire, glass, and granite - to visualize these tropes with ironic and amusing twists.  His aim is to amuse and provoke viewers so they are prompted to reconsider what they are seeing.

Frattolillo's use of irony is especially potent.  His work is critical of religion, the state, politics, and, especially, art.  Deflating elevated concepts in a reverse alchemical process, he cynically makes apparent the realities of the art market.  For example, the same year the contemporary British artist Damien Hirst created the diamond-encrusted skull entitled For the Love of God (2008), Frattolillo mockingly debuted Damius Chocolatechipus - a skull covered with chocolate chips.  Frattolillo converted Hirst's extravagant, precious materials into cheap, digestible objects.

In Mr. Goodbar (2007), Frattolillo represents the well-known packaging of the Toblerone chocolate bar, rebranding it "Testosterone."  It takes the viewer a second glance to notice the difference, as the size and typeface are exactly the same as the original wrapper.  In renaming the chocolate bar, Frattolillo draws attention to the object's phallic attributes: its elongated shape as well as the macho packaging.  As pictured in this work, one end of the chocolate bar is open and the foil is pulled pack, exposing the dark and tempting interior and inviting the viewer to take a bite.  Libido and lust are bound to gustatory pleasure, here made readily available in one sexy package.  

Like Frattolillo's other works, Mr. Goodbar sardonically points to the commodification of human pleasure in the modern world.  Everything is for sale and easily replicated in infinite multiples, be it chocolate, sex, or art.  Even the medium itself - silkscreen - refers to the easy reproducibility of the art object.  

Martina Tanga PhD

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Art & Art Attempts by Christy Mag Uidhir,
Oxford University Press, 2013

Shark, A visual History by Richard Ellis, 2012
Exhibition Catalog

List of Collections and Exhibitions on request


Multiples Marketed to Museums 1995 – 2004
Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL
Carnegie Museum - Pittsburg, PA
The Cleveland Museum of Art - Cleveland, OH
The Collingwood Museum of Art - Ontario, CAN
The Dallas Museum of Art - Dallas, TX
The De Young Museum - San Francisco, CA
The Guggenheim Museum - New York, NY
Indiana University Museum of Art - Bloomington, IN
The Kentucky Center For The Arts - Louisville, KY
MassMoca - North Adams, MA
Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago, IL
Museum of Contemporary Art - La Jolla, CA
Milwaukee Art Museum - Milwaukee, WI
The New Museum - New York, NY
Parrish Art Museum – Southhampton, NY
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts - Philadelphia, PA
The Rockford Art Museum - Rockford, IL
Scottsdale Cultural Center - Scottsdale, AZ
The Tampa Museum of Art - Tampa, FL
Walker Art Center - Minneapolis, MN
The Whitney Museum - New York, NY
Wichita Art Museum - Wichita, KS
University of Wyoming Art Museum - Laramie, WY

 

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Artist Statement

My work is about counterpointing a word, a thought or a material, to visualize an idea. This becomes the core of how I execute that concept, and a medium is selected that satisfies the visual requirement(s). I use any combination that suits the purpose, (bronze, corrugated steel, photography, realism, acrylic, wood, Belgian linen, barbed wire, granite etc.). The juxtaposition elicits the play of strong opposites, and the concepts range from the amusing political or sexual, to the ironic or controversial.